Archive for February 21st, 2012
If the 2012 Virginia General Assembly accomplishes nothing else this year, it will at least be able to claim the mantle of the state legislative body with the most headlines. Controversial debates over social issues, guns and education, has Virginia splashed all over national web sites and newspapers for the last two months.
Many of those headlines come directly from legislation authored by the colorful and provocative Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William). The conservative delegate, who is also running for in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate has always been outspoken on issues like abortion and gay rights. He is the author of HB-1 a bill that would designate life beginning at conception. A policy commonly called “personhood”. Marshall is also a strong support of a measure that would require woman seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound prior to the procedure.
The heated debate over those issues led Saturday Night Live to group the Virginia in with other hot button issues related to abortion and contraception. In a segment called “Really? with Seth & Amy” Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler mocked Marshall and his colleagues for supporting personhood and ultrasounds before abortions.
“The Virginia House of Representatives this week passed a bill that required women to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion. Really?’ asked Poehler. “Now don’t get me wrong. I love transvaginal. It’s my favorite airline.”
Marshall hadn’t seen the sketch before our Sarah Bloom asked him about it. He took time to watch it and then called her back. Then he came down to NBC12 to respond on camera.. and provide a little comedy of his own.
“I was scandalized, shocked at the rampant sexist nature of this,” said Marshall, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. “I mean for example, that chauvinist Seth answers a question about pregnancy when in fact, it should have been Baby Momma who answers the question about pregnancy. I’ll bet Seth has never been pregnant.”
Of course personhood is Marshall’s signature bill. Filed as HB-1 before any other legislation. Meyers enjoyed poking fun at that as well.
“They also passed a bill saying life begins at conception. What’s next?’ asked Meyers. “Life begins at last call? Life begins when you press send on your Match.com profile?”
Marshall told Sarah that he thought they could do better than that.
“If it’s up to me, look, we tell kids in Virginia 3rd graders, that life begins when sperm and egg meet. They’re kids…what do they know? Adults know life beings when the kids get married and leave home,” Marshall joked. “That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.”
But while the fiery delegate was quick to return his version of comedic fire, he got serious in defense of the bill claiming the media and pro-choice protestors have it all wrong.
“People need to read the bill. This doesn’t do any of the stuff that 95% of the people are saying out there,” he said. “It doesn’t abolish abortion, it doesn’t get rid of birth control, it doesn’t affect in-vitro.”
Marshall pointed to a similar standard passed in Missouri in 1986 that hasn’t outlawed abortion, cut down on in-vitro or contraception. Marshall said the goal is protect a parent’s legal interest in their unborn child.
“Parents have a protectable interest in children,” he said. “It is a legal interest they should have the right to say, I lost a child. I didn’t lose a tadpole or kangaroo or you know, some stuffed bear. This is a person of great importance to me. The law doesn’t’ recognize that right now.”
Of course pro-choice groups, which staged a large silent protest today disagree. They believe Marshall’s bill is part of a slow creep to end abortion at minimum and outlaw contraception at the most.
Marshall who is using his strong conservative credentials as an asset in the race for U.S. Senate credited his primary opponent, former senator George Allen for being on the same page with him on personhood. “He supports House Bill 1,” said Marshall. “Yes, I thank him for that. Yes, I do.”
You can see Sarah’s entire story here.
Extended clips of Sarah’s interview with Del. Marshall can be found below: